’ELLO, ’ello ’ello, what have we here then? Booper’s back, and he’s brought out a book.
Older readers may remember Graham Storr.
He was the bent bobby who went from plod to porridge back in 1984.
The former South Yorkshire Police detective sergeant – nicknamed Booper because he resembled a TV urchin – was locked up for five years after being convicted of corruption.
Among his list of mischief was taking bribes and organising an arson attack.
Now, after regretting his crime, doing his time, moving on and finding God, he’s released a book.
And he reckons it shines a copper’s flashlight on the murky dealings of the country’s most notorious police force during the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties.
Bad behaviour abounded, he says.
“I don’t think every copper was as bad as me,” notes the 71-year-old grandfather-of-two. “That would be patently untrue. There were honest men. But improper behaviour was rife back then.”
And, while that might make it uncomfortable material for some who served, it’s a rip-roaring and (taken with a pinch of salt) revealing read for the rest of us.
Here is sex, drugs and violence. And the criminals aren’t much better.
In one scene, a young Booper is stopped from reporting a burglary at an electrics store until a senior officer has swiped some goods for himself. In another, two coppers are discovered in the back of a force van in a Robin Askwith-style clinch with two giggling females.
“I reminded them they were on duty and gave them five minutes to finish up,” recalls Booper, who was born in Darnall but now lives in Worksop. “Plus we were supposed to be going for a pint.”
There’s darker stuff too. He recalls a teenage girl being killed when a TV is thrown from the old Infirmary Road flats. Another time, he helps as officers blindfold and noose a suspect’s neck before threatening to hang him if he doesn’t confess to a stabbing. He does.
And if that all sounds a little Sweeney, Booper swears it all really happened.
“It’s 150 per cent true,” he says. “Apart from the names. I’ve changed those.”
It is all top-and-tailed by two of the darkest, and unquestionably real, days in South Yorkshire Police history.
It begins around 1963 after the Rhino Whip Affair – a notorious incident when several top brass were revealed to have overseen systemic police brutality – and ends before the Hillsborough disaster.
“People are entitled to think I’m a bitter ex-copper with a grudge,” says Booper, who served from 1957-82 and worked as a sales manager after his release. “But I would ask do you think those two incidents happened in isolation?”
There’s something of an elephant in the room, though.
Booper, who wrote the book while incarcerated but left it for publishing until he retired, doesn’t go into details of his own downfall.
“There’s not an ounce of criminality in me any more,” he says. “I gave out some copies at my church and one of the congregation said ‘The man in that book isn’t you’.
“But I don’t go into my own crimes because they weren’t interesting.
“I took bribes off a businessman. It wasn’t sexy.
“When I got out of prison I was so broke when I bust my dentures I couldn’t afford the £7 to have them fixed. Crime didn’t pay.”
Now, he’s rather hoping the book will.
And the man they once called the Jack Regan of West Bar Police Station also hopes people enjoy it. Whether they believe it to be fact or fiction is almost irrelevant.
Booper’s Tale is self-published and available from email@example.com now, priced £7.99.
Booper and his bribes
DETECTIVE Sergeant 301 Graham Storr was once described in this paper as one of the best thief-takers in South Yorkshire.
At his height, he masterminded an operation which resulted in the recovery of £500,000 worth of diamonds.
But his love of the chase – not to mention for expensive wines, women and wardrobe items – led to his downfall.
He accepted bribes, including cash, foreign holidays and dinners, from businessman and criminal mastermind William Kelsey.
He also agreed to have a private school burned down for him.
Both were caught in a sting with Kelsey imprisoned for seven and half years for swindling £1.7 million from Sheffield Twist Drill.